Coercive Energy Policy: Russia and the Near Abroad

2014-02-24T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Ryan C. Maness
This thesis is about a peculiar foreign policy tactic used by Russia on the other states of the former Soviet Union: coercive energy policy. Using the issue-based approach as a framework, I hypothesize that the salience of energy issues, the presence of rivalry, how unanimous public opinion is on energy issues, and how regions or states are tied to Russia’s great power identity will impact the amount of energy coercion Russia will employ on each state or region of post-Soviet space. Coercion is measured with the rise or fall of natural gas prices or transit pipeline fees; or the amount of pipeline competition in regions or the potential for future pipeline project competition between Russia and other world powers, such as the United States, the EU, or China. I find that the primary motivating factor behind Russian coercion with natural gas pricing and pipeline monopolization is whether or not the post-Soviet state is remaining within the Russian sphere of influence, or drifting toward the Western umbrella of economic and security protection. I employ quantitative methods to uncover evidence for these assertions, and whether or not these policies are working, in the sense that they bring the more Western-oriented states back in line with Russia’s interests. Finally, I use events data to utilize a new methodology to see whether or not this form of economic statecraft utilized by Russia actually works; in the sense that it changes state behavior in the way the government in Moscow intended. Negative statistical significance is found, inferring that Russia’s tactics are not bringing states of the former Soviet Union closer to Russia’s regional political orbit, and states are seeking political refuge with the United States and the West. This method potentially opens up new avenues for the economic statecraft research project in international relations scholarship